Now it has been a long time since my last blog post. I have been really busy passing my NQT year and setting up for my second year in Reception. I have to say, this year is even better!
I do have a snow day today so I thought I really should do a quick update. I have updated my links to include my favourite Early Years Expert, Alistair Bryce-Clegg. His blog is definitely worth a visit, I have found so many creative ideas on there and I bought his book too.
I have also made some changes to my classroom this year. After reading this book I went for a deconstructed role play area and have not looked back. I now have a challenge area which is great for those times when you have just found that you need to address something such as number formation. I can quickly put something in the challenge area to develop this and the children enjoy using it. I will write more about this when I have some photos. I also have a woodwork area now. This was introduced just last week with the help of my partner in crime (Mrs Taylor). We are both very excited about this area as we are hoping it will develop the children’s ability to take and manage risks safely. More to follow…
Time to go and dig my car out!
Unlike many, I did not have the entire summer holidays to set up my classroom due to delays in building work. I had half a day to set up my classroom. Yes it was scary but I was also very lucky to have been given a new classroom and lots of new furniture to play around with.
My school is expanding to a 2-form entry and my classroom is part of the new reception unit. Our unit is two rooms with a connecting door so that we can facilitate a free flow environment. It’s great to be part of something new and I feel it’s a great opportunity to create an environment that works for the children and excites them. This doesn’t come overnight and is something that will be developed and changed as time goes on. I wanted to share with you some of my favourite pieces of furniture that arrived during my first week.
This is our book tent. It is a lovely enclosed space where the children can go to read and enjoy stories. I have a particular soft spot for it because my colleague and I spent one Saturday assembling it! The children needed some reminding at first that it was a quiet reading area and not a tunnel to run through and after a week we are starting to see this. The books go on the shelving on the outside, maximising the space inside.
This is another great piece of furniture, as you can see, from TTS. We are using it as a small world area at the moment and have put some dinosaurs in as a temporary measure. Once we have some more interests emerging from the children it will change. We have hung some ribbons from the holes in the top which look great and add another dimension to the area. It can also be used as an investigative area as it is a plastic tray so you could put messy things in like cornflour, foam and jelly. Under the tray there are some storage boxes which make resources easily accessible.
There are some other lovely areas in our unit and I will blog about those once we have developed them. It’s still early days but I can’t wait to get properly up and running. The children are staying for their first full day on Monday so we are still settling them in. The next big mission is to set up our outdoor area (that’s new too) whilst finishing the inside! There are not enough hours in the day!
“Classdroid is an Android App for teachers that allows teachers to quickly take a picture of a students work, grade it and upload it to a pupils or class learning portfolio.”
For more information on Classdroid visit John Mclear’s blog.
I have an Andriod phone and I really enjoy using it. It is for my personal use and so for obvious reasons I don’t use it in school. So I would need a seperate phone for the classroom if I were to use this app properly. I have been testing it at home to see what it can do and how easy it is. It is very easy to use once you have sorted the technical bits such as setting where to upload a piece of work to. I set mine to upload to a blog that I am using for testing purposes. To see the results click here. Then all you do is take a picture, grade it and send it. It couldn’t be any easier!
So this got me thinking about how I might use it in the classroom. As an Early years trainee teacher it could be used to take pictures of the children’s work so that parents could view it on their child’s blog. I think parents and children would enjoy that but it would require me to set up a blog for each child. I would often assess children’s work as evidence for their Early Years Profile and a picture would need extra information which could be voice recorded or typed. This ability to comment is not yet available, although you can grade it on a 1-5 star rating.
Best bit: Very quick, instant feedback for children.
Improvement I’d like to see: Option to add a voice comment and a text comment.
I was given a group task at uni to creat a science display on the topic of pushes and pulls. As I am specialising in early years we had to aim it at the ages of 4-5 years olds. We chose to use the story of The Enormous Turnip as a stimulus. The idea of pulling the turnip out of the ground fit really well with our theme.
Here’s a picture of our display:
We used sound buttons to record important questions or activity ideas for the children to do. It’s not perfect and there are things we can do to improve but for a slightly rushed effort (after being stuck abroad due to volcanic ash) we were pretty happy with it.
The title briefly describes my latest works as a trainee teacher. It sounds more like an art student and believe me it feels like it too 🙂 I have been doing an assignment for art and DT which involved me making puppets and a painting. These products sprouted from the theme of oceans which is a good way of working and would work well with a class. I am quite pleased with my puppets however I wish I had thought of something other than painting. Somehow I am always drawn in by paint but then later realise I have not improved much since the last time I tried it!
The Egyptian tomb has been created collaboratively as a humanities assessment. We had to make a resource and so we decided to make an Ancient Egyptian role play area. It took a few hours to create but it was worth it as you can hopefully see in the pictures. We had real homemade hummus to try, Egyptian music, insence stick burning, a mummy inside the tomb (doll wrapped in bandages), and much more. There is also a small written paper to go with it but this is all about the resource so should be straightforward. Now this is my kind of assignment! I feel enthusiastic about this great resource we have made and so this is surely going to rub off when writing the essay.
So 1 essay and 2 exams to go until my 2nd year is done. How quickly it has flown!
I have now done 2 weeks of my teaching practice and am feeling very tired. This has still not taken away the feeling of enjoyment though. During my first week I was still finding my feet and did not feel very confident. Nothing went wrong but I knew things could be improved. During my second week my confidence began to rise and I am feeling I am making progress. Most importantly the children are responding to me and they are making progress!
I am still having issues with paperwork as there is so much of it as a trainee. You have to ensure you have evidence for almost everything you do and this means paperwork!
Working in reception is fantastic as the activities you provide for the children are fun but they also help the children learn. I like the way that the curriculum is very creative and really hope that the National Curriculum change for KS1 and KS2 goes ahead with the shift towards a more foundation style.
The lessons I have been planning and teaching are slowly becoming available on http://www.primaryschoolteaching.co.uk/